Friday, August 19, 2005

Today was a pretty good day…

… in the ‘coding’ trenches. I had one of those days where the dozen things you’ve been juggling for the past few weeks all come together on the same day. I spent the day completing the testing, and rolling into production no less than ten new features/fixes/enhancements for the primary application I’m responsible for.

I love days like this. It seemed like I went from one completion to another all day, and everything worked as required, no runs, no glitches, no errors.

So much of the development cycle is a seemingly endless cycle of code, run, crash, debug and repeat, that days like today are fairly rare.

If you’re building a new application, you have a number of them at the front end of the project, a few more in the middle, but, as the complexity grows and programmers get added to the mix, it grows increasingly difficult to get anything 100% right the first time.

I wonder sometimes if I’m the only one with this experience. If you hang out on any of the programmer forums it seems like 90% of the members are ‘monster’ coders, with bugs virtually non-existent in their work. Interestingly enough, in Microsoft’s research on software factories, they say that only 10% of programmers are truly gifted, the rest range from ‘more than adequate’ to ‘unacceptable’ with a fairly good percentage in that unacceptable range!

Then again, maybe anyone who isn’t coding to the Microsoft ‘standard’, which changes fairly regularly, was deemed unacceptable?

I don’t know….and quite frankly... I don't care about that!! I do know I had a great day at work though, and that’s a wonderful way to close out the week.

I stopped in at the local PPG Automotive paint distributor on the way home today to pick their brains about what I should be using as a ‘foundation’ primer on the truck project. Turns out that the recommendation today is for an 100% Urethane solution from primer through clear coat!!

Things have definitely changed over the past 25 years in the paint business!! Back in the day, we’d use a lacquer primer, a urethane base color coat, House of Kolor “candy” (also lacquer based then) for the stripes and graphics and then a urethane clear topcoat. That was 'state of the art' stuff back then, hell, we didn't even really know how dangerous it all was at the time!

Urethanes, for those of you who don’t know are two part paints. The urethane paint, and a catalyst (or activator as it’s sometimes called) that causes the paint to chemically cure. This chemical cure is similar to how two part ‘epoxy’ products work. The older finishes like lacquer and enamels cured through solvent evaporation, much like house paint does.

There are many advantages to these urethane products, but, they also have one very big ‘downside’. They’re extremely toxic. They contain something called isocyanates (cyanide sound familiar?), and can cause central nervous system damage and even death if used improperly. Using them properly involves plenty of ventilation, proper breathing gear, paint suits, gloves, etc... all because this stuff is dangerous even if you get it on your skin!

I’m telling you all of this as I’m trying (typing) to decide if that’s the way I want to go. I’ve used urethanes extensively in the past, and I have the breathing (and other) equipment I need, but, I don’t have a ‘paint booth’ to properly handle the overspray and fumes (ventilation)… So, I’m working up a plan to create a ‘draft booth’ in the garage that I can set up and take down as needed. The problem I have at the moment though, is I don’t have the room, or the time at the moment, to really fabricate this stuff. Or at least it wasn’t in my ‘plan’ until much later in the process.

One of the projects on the 'scope' I mentioned yesterday, the DotNet ASP gig in Virginia, is looking grim. Seems the IT manager would love an off-site team, his boss though is saying ‘No Way’. I’m trying to set up a conference call for next week to see if I can persuade them to let us have a shot at it. I may even volunteer for a Saturday meeting in their offices if they show some interest.

Oh… and Maryan is doing very well… she even managed to sneak a little on line time and drop a comment on yesterdays post!! She’s got to be feeling better if she’s using that PC!

That’s about it I guess, I’ve got to go make dinner and start some laundry (I’m telling you the neighbor is sneaking their laundry in here!!) Then maybe later we’ll find a movie or something. I know, not exactly a wild and crazy Friday night... but, I have a feeling that once she’s completely healed up we’ll be heading back out on the bike again, and often!

Speaking of the bike, I picked up the rest of the repair parts I ordered today, so I’ll be wrapping that up and it’ll be 100% again tomorrow… I’ll take some pics… and maybe, just maybe I’ll head out and get some wind in my face too!!

(a little update... the heat index was 85 at 5:30am this morning, over 90 shortly after sunrise... so.. all that garage work will have to wait.. although I don't think there's any avoiding mowing the lawn today!!)


Beth said...

You know, you'd have a definite shorter riding time on the bike upstate. Well, I know you know this, but it just hit me.

We did the movie thing as well. I shocked my husband by renting him something about WWII. =)

Bill said...

GK- That's the big downside for me of a move back North... but.. at this point it's not even something for me to be conerned about... I'm thinking that for now, that possibility is a dead issue.

We didn't end up watching movies as we were both asleep about 20 minutes after I made the post!!

Thanks, as always for stopping by!